During the season of Advent we reflect on waiting for the arrival of Jesus.
Parts One and Two
The Message in a Nutshell: Between the Old and New Testaments there were 400 years of silence between God and His people. And yet God was active during that time to set up the announcement of His greater plan for humanity in the Messiah. When the silence seemed like it would never end, God sent the angel Gabriel to Zechariah.
1. What is one tradition you have at Christmas time that you really enjoy?
2. What is a Christmas tradition that you...less than enjoy?
3. Was there anything from the message on Sunday that you would like to discuss in our time together tonight?
Read Deuteronomy 30:1-11
4. A powerful thing to realize is that even before Israel broke their covenant with Him, God told them that they would and spelt out their future redemption. On top of that, even though He knew they would betray Him, God chose to commit Himself to them anyway.
How might this knowledge of God’s character help us the next time we’re feeling like He should reject us?
5. Verse six tells us that God’s goal in bringing discipline on His people is to “circumcise their hearts.” That is a bit of a strange phrase. What might be the idea behind it?
6. Two weeks ago we talked about the 400 years of silence. Was any of that new information to you? Did any of it surprise you? What do you think about it?
7. We also talked about how, during their oppression, the Jewish people hoped for the arrival of God’s Messiah.
What is your definition of the word “hope”?
Why can hope be powerful?
Read Isaiah 9:2-7
8. In verse 3 Isaiah prophesies that God will “enlarge the nation” through the Messiah. How might that promise have been or be fulfilled through Christ?
9. Something to know as we study the Scriptures is that someone’s name in the Bible is more than just something that you call them. A name is a summary of a person’s character and types of behavior.
Verse six in our Isaiah passage reads, “And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.” Which of those names resonate with you the most? Why?
10. We long for the day when Jesus returns to set up His government on the earth. Does His return scare you, or do you find yourself looking forward to it? Why?